The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of the Sudan

The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of the Sudan

The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of the Sudan

The Nubian Past: An Archaeology of the Sudan

Synopsis

This cutting-edge synthesis of the archaeology of Nubia and Sudan from prehistory to the nineteenth century AD is the first major work on this area for over three decades. Drawing on results of the latest research and developing new interpretive frameworks, the area which has produced the most spectacular archaeology in sub-Saharan Africa is examined here by an author with extensive experience in this field.The geographical range of the book extends through the Nubian north, the Middle Nile Basin, and includes what has become the modern Sudan. Using period-based chapters, the region's long-term history is traced and a potential for a more broadly framed and inclusive 'historical archaeology' of Sudan's more recent past is explored.This text breaks new ground in its move beyond the Egyptocentric and more traditional culture-histories of Nubia, often isolated in Africanist research, and it relocates the early civilizations and their archaeology within their Sudanic Africa context.This is a captivating study of the area's history, and will inform and enthral all students and researchers of Archaeology and Egyptology.

Excerpt

What is today the Republic of Sudan has an extraordinarily rich and impressive archaeological heritage. The home of the first great kingdoms of sub-Saharan Africa, over millennia it has also produced rich and diverse cultural traditions, as varied as its landscapes, ranging from the equatorial rain forests to the hyperarid Sahara. With its vast size, its different regions have had complex histories, both internally as well as in their external relations, with links across Sudanic Africa, across the Sahara to Egypt, to the Red Sea world, the Ethiopian Highlands and East Africa. The long history of contacts between northern Sudan - Nubia proper - and Egypt has also long attracted archaeological interest in the region, leaving parts of it probably the best-known, archaeologically, anywhere in sub-Saharan Africa.

This volume provides a new introduction to the archaeology of Nubia and the wider Sudan. This is not a book about Egypt in Nubia, nor just those limited areas of northern Nubia which came in contact with Ancient Egypt. The first major work of synthesis which looked beyond such confines only emerged in the late 1970s, with W. Y. Adams's Nubia, Corridor to Africa. It still remains a landmark study, summarizing the state of archaeological and historical knowledge in the early 1970s in the immediate aftermath of the Nubian High Dam Campaign. It was also a landmark in exploring the potential for a more anthropological archaeology in a field largely dominated by Egyptological research traditions.

A generation after Lower Nubia disappeared beneath Lake Nasser/Nubia, much has changed. Where only a handful of sites had ever been excavated elsewhere in the Sudan prior to the 1960s, we are now looking at archaeological cultures and ancient settlement landscapes then virtually unsuspected and often with little in common with those discovered by the pioneers of Nubian archaeology in Lower Nubia. More and more, albeit tentative steps are also being taken into what have been archaeologically unknown regions. In its scope, this book can now draw on research across many parts of this vast country and can at least aspire to represent an archaeology of the Sudan as a whole. Unfortunately, our very uneven knowledge, especially with regard to its more southerly regions, still makes it impossible to really fulfil this desire. The more

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